Maynooth University Announces Winners of the 2024 Public Engagement Awards

STEM Passport for Inclusion team - Dr Katriona O'Sullivan, Isabel Meza Silva, Megan Griffin, Kalyn Potter, Christine Collins
Tuesday, July 9, 2024 - 09:30

Maynooth University is delighted to announce the winners of the inaugural 2024 Public Engagement Awards, celebrating exceptional efforts in fostering public engagement. The awards ceremony took place on 29th May 2024.
The awards recognise and celebrate the significant contributions of Maynooth University staff in public engagement.
Individual Award
Shortlisted candidates:

  1. Professor Karen Till, Department of Geography: for her work including the Traveller Community Mapping Coolock StoryMap, the MA spatial justice student workshops with artists and community groups in Inchicore, and the ‘Our Shared Plate’ partnership on food security and climate resilience.
  2. Dr Ian Marder, School of Law and Criminology: for the project “Restorative Justice: Strategies for Change, Ireland,” working with partners in policymaking and civil society to develop restorative justice policies, services and practices in Ireland.
  3. Dr Joanne Cusack, Department of Music: for her engagement with project FairPlé, promoting gender balance and challenging prejudice in the Irish Traditional Music industry, through public policy and practitioner engagement and impact.

Winner: Dr Ian Marder
Following his work to establish the group Restorative Justice: Strategies for Change, which involved 40 partners across 10 countries, Dr Marder worked with the group to support the implementation of a European framework for restorative justice. He worked with the partners to collect and publish mapping and case studies data on restorative justice in Ireland, disseminated the research, and drafted a policy document for the Department of Justice published in 2023 in which the government provided new funding for restorative justice services in a previously unserved region of Ireland.
The Awards Selection Panel noted that Dr Marder’s work exemplifies genuine collaboration with victim support, judiciary, prison services, and policymakers, leading to impactful policy and practice changes and positioning MU as a global leader in restorative justice research.
Team Award
Shortlisted teams:

  1. Dr Niamh Wycherley and Tiago Veloso Silva, Department of Early Irish, MU: for the creation of the hit Medieval Irish History podcast, which included collaboration with the Dept of Music and guest input from various organisations.
  2. David Joyce and the College Connect team in the MU Access Office. College Connect is a regional widening participation collaborative that aims to enhance the educational aspirations of the most socio-economically disadvantaged people in the Midlands-East region by working with local community partners.

The team includes: Deirdre Fitzpatrick (College Connect/ MU), Eilís Ní Chorchora (College Connect/ MU), Zoryana Pshyk (College Connect/ MU), Karen Brady (College Connect/ MU), David Joyce  (College Connect/ MU), Marta Johnston (College Connect/ Technological University of the Shannon), Sean Harvey (College Connect/ DCU), Eibhlin Lindin (College Connect/ DkIT), College Connect, SOLAS, AONTAS, The Pathways Centre, National Traveller Women's Forum, EPIC, Louth Leader Partnership, Irish Refugee Council, AHEAD, Maynooth University, Dublin City University , Technological University of the Shannon (Midlands Campus), Dundalk Institute of Technology 

  1. The STEM Passport for Inclusion team submitted by Isabel Meza Silva in the Department of Psychology and the ALL Institute. The project addresses inequalities with access to STEM careers among secondary school students in socially disadvantaged communities, combining a Level 6 STEM qualification and mentoring from industry role models.

The STEM Passport for Inclusion team includes (this is only a subset of the total number of partners involved in this project):

  • Isabel Meza Silva – lead applicant
  • Maynooth University - Dr Katriona O'Sullivan, Michelle Kinsella, Leigh Butler, Stephen Gillic, Megan Griffin, Ella Pacini, Neasa Boyle, Dr Holly Foley, Sean Brennan 
  • Lead corporate partner Microsoft Ireland - Dr Kevin Marshall, Amanda Jolliffe, Neeve Hyland, Corey Hughes, Diana De La Peza Cortes, Lorraine Drumm, Michael Barrett 
  • Munster Technological University - Dr Helena Mc Mahon, Dr Aoife M. Ní Fhlatharta, Fanchea Toomey 
  • Atlantic Technological University - Dr Jacqueline McCormack, Ruth Lennon, Michelle Cawley, Hamail Ayaz 
  • Longford County Council - Christine Collins 

Winner: The STEM Passport for Inclusion – led by Maynooth University, Microsoft Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland and the Department of Education
Since the launch of the pilot programme two years ago, the project has reached 3,400 students in 105 DEIS schools around Ireland. The students graduate the programme with 50 Leaving Cert Points to apply for STEM courses at a handful of universities, including MU, MTU and ATU to continue their journeys into fields many previously never even imagined. The project is now scaling up nationally. The STEM Passport for Inclusion also has research and policy implications, recently being cited as part of the Department of Education’s digital skills strategy.The Awards Selection Panel noted the scale of the project’s impacts on the participants’ lives, its range of varied partners, and integration with public policy as an exemplar project for public engagement.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees for their outstanding contributions to public engagement.